It wasn’t like the New York Knicks were in first place Friday when they decided to trade away their two leading scorers. On the contrary, the Knicks haven’t been to the playoffs since 2004 and new team president Donnie Walsh has his hands full trying to dig out from the wreckage of the Isiah Thomas regime.
Friday’s trades that sent Zach Randolph to the Los Angeles Clippers and Jamal Crawford to the Golden State Warriors for three players with contracts that expire in 2010, creating cap space to go after LeBron James and other prominent free agents then.
Still, when one of the most prominent franchises in sports dumps its two — arguably — best players in hopes of making a splash in the free-agent market not this summer but next summer, it ranks among the most notable salary-dumping trades of recent years, weighing in at No. 5 in Tuesday’s Top Five.